The Space Coast Is Four Different Places

by Mike Miller
(Naples, Florida)

Launch viewed from The Cape Royal Building in Cocoa Beach

Launch viewed from The Cape Royal Building in Cocoa Beach

I moved to Brevard County in 1975 to take a job as Brevard County Engineer. I got to know the county from Scottsmoor on the north to Little Hollywood on the banks of the Sebastian River down south.

In 1977 I left my County Engineer job and started my own engineering company in Indialantic. Over the years it grew to 33 employees. I finally sold it in 1988 and went to work at Universal Studios.

It wasn't long before I learned a few things about the county. It has four distinct regions, politically separate and almost autonomous. They could almost be their own counties.

North Brevard: Titusville, Mims, Scottsmoor and north, and later Port St. John. This is "Old Brevard", in fact LaGrange is maybe the oldest community in the county. Titusville is the County seat, the begrudging home to space workers although some have served on City Council.

Central Brevard: Cocoa, all by itself, Rockledge as a more affluent cousin. Beautiful homes on the river, but a seething minority a few blocks west. High crime rate but getting better. Cocoa Village redevelopment helped.

South Brevard: Melbourne and EauGallie, not quite separate even after 40 years, with south beaches and Barefoot Bay. Not very unified. No bridges between Melbourne and Wabasso isolate many people. They are like island dwellers. Melbourne Beach and Indialantic, very protective and clannish.

Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral: fun and frivolity and the divorce capital of the world during the early days of the space program. Bars used to stay open 24 hours a day to serve thirsty space workers. Ramon's and other places, unique to the Space Coast are now gone. Ron Jon's and T-shirts have taken over.

On top of all of this geographic and demographic diversity, you had two significant cultural overlays: the people that lived in Brevard before the space program, and the people that came later to work at the Cape. Even though the space workers might have come in the late 1950's, they were still newbies.

I called the natives the "old guard", and they controlled the politics and economy of Brevard because most of the space workers felt they were just passing through, and the old guard treated them that way.

You have a great website, and are making me homesick.

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